Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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A proposal for a new #Complexity- and #Strength- based #PDCA (for #Lean or else)

Thinking during commute the other day (should I have to live nearer my work, I’d be much more dumb!) I pondered how a better strength-based Plan Do Check Act loop could look like.

I find the current version of PDCA to be a bit too deficit-based and tainted of Command & Control. All too often we see managers or project managers deciding on a plan in their offices and rolling it over employees, without much consideration about what would work for them (they’re the ones with their two feet in the daily work, so they should know best). Sure, if you’re doing nemawashi, this doesn’t concern you. But not everybody does it, yet.

So, since we’re speaking more and more about complexity (hmmm, Google Trends on complexity is making me a liar it seems – a construction of mine?)… anyway, I came up with the following new version:

  • Connect ideas of different people: who are they? what are their strengths? What ideas do they have? Aspirations? Opportunities they see? Results they expect?
  • Select ideas that you (collectively) would think are the more interesting to try?
  • Effect these ideas: go to the gemba and put them to the test of work. Measure heavily what happens of course (People side: does it enhance the work experience? Quality? Delays? Costs?)
  • Reflect on what happened: what did you learn? What new opportunities do you now see? What hopes does this give you? What else?

PS: well, at least the Cynefin  framework is trending more 😉

#Lean for #NGO – NGO and Nonprofit leadership with the Lean community for knowledge, sharing, and collaboration.

October 11th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , ,

The bible as a guide for true #Lean?

October 8th, 2013 Posted in Lean, Strength Tags: , , ,

I just spotted this reference to the Bible on Internet (in a systems thinking forum!), and I can’t help but relate this to appreciative inquiry or what others in the field of change management call “embracing complexity”.

I’m an atheist, but then, this doesn’t mean I can’t recognize sound advice when I see it, even in religious texts (indeed, these are great sources of insight!) I must also admit that I looked at buddhism when trying to research what might have been sources of inspiration for the Toyoda family (they were buddhists) and Taiichi Ohno (I don’t know for him). Indeed, Buddhist texts (Theravada to be precise, have a look at the material available on Access To Insight for instance) indeed taught me a lot about Systems Thinking and appreciating people’s mental models (and letting go of wanting to change them). But that’s another story.

Back to the Bible and more precisely Matthew 7:7-8:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Then Matthew 7:1-5 are interesting as well!

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

About what traditional Lean coaching does, and what strength-based coaching can do (still Matthew!)

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Forthcoming book on #Strength-based #Lean #SixSigma by David Shaked #appreciativeinquiry #solutionfocus

A new book called ‘Strength-based Lean Six Sigma‘ will be available from November 4th. Its author, David Shaked, has worked with Lean Thinking and Six Sigma for over 15 years and more specifically using a strength-based approach over the past 7 years.

The book is the first book to create bridges and combine the best of both the strengths and the deficit worlds in the drive for greater efficiency, by combining Appreciative Inquiry (and other strength-based approaches like Solution Focus), with the leading approaches to efficiency and quality improvement (Lean Thinking and Six Sigma – normally practised with a deficit-focus). The book contains principles, fresh ideas, stories and useful tools.

It is hoped this book will expand the community of Strength-based practitioners & enthusiasts by creating inroads with many more organizations and people who are keen followers of Lean Thinking and Six Sigma.

If your organization or clients are using Lean Six Sigma and you would like to use the best of their existing knowledge while introducing them to AI – this book is for you (and for them…)!

You can now be pre-order the book directly from the publisher (with a special launch discount) using the details in the following flyer.

It is also available for pre-order on both Amazon US and Amazon UK:

  1. Amazon UK
  2. Amazon US

It may also be available via other Amazon sites or other online/off line retailers of your preference. You can search it using the book title or the ISBN number which is: 0749469501. An e-book version (e.g. for Kindle/iPad) will also be available closer to the launch date.

There’s a LinkedIn group on the same subject as well, feel free to join to talk on the topic of strengths applied to Lean and Six Sigma.

#Lean & Nonviolent Communication #nvc

I just read a bunch of pages on Nonviolent Communication (The Wikipedia page’s good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Communication) and it occurred to me that practising it as a coach to help people communicate at the frontiers of teams, inside a process, or maybe better teach it to team leaders, would help a lot with efficiency during pass over (moments where the product passes from one team to the next).

Indeed, isn’t A3 and nemawashi supposed to achieve something like what NVC does?

NVC has four components that should all be expressed in any form of communication. And I think it goes well with maintaining continuous improvement:

  • Observations (well, this one is obvious: Lean Six Sigma is mostly about facts, facts & facts!)
  • Needs: how to express a need or listen to a need – should these be clarified, we’d go really further than just complaining about others. Have you expressed your needs clearly recently? Further, isn’t genchi gembutsu (with clients AND suppliers/internal teams) a way to get closer to the real needs?
  • Feelings: what unmet needs provoke in people, and how to express it.
  • Requests: when they’re clear and made after feelings, needs and observations have been done properly, it’s all the more probable that requests will be fulfilled, or if not, that other solutions will be found.

I think it would go a long way toward improving the chances of Lean sticking where it’s been presented if (1) teams where taught and experienced a bit in NVC and (2) coaches (and management) were practicing NVC during exchanges with other parties. Here are two examples:

For an executive talking to the whole organization, it would help if s/he clarified the observations related to how the balanced scorecard is going (finance, processes, people and learning), expressed the feelings raised because of that (fear, sadness or maybe joy or hope), what the corresponding needs are to further improve the situation and then the request would flow more naturally to employees who would then have the rationale to move on into continuous improvement (including middle management that would be much more informed in order to balance the work between “doing the job” and “improving the job”).

For a team leader, factual observations of errors coming from the previous team and what needs are unfulfilled because of the team’s purpose, would help explain they current feelings about what’s going on and consequently express a clear and justified request to their partner team, in order to raise efficiency of the process at border crossing .

What’s more, I feel a clear nonviolent communication would definitely allow each participant to answer in the best way that would work for themselves, making the resulting exchange all the more solution-focused!

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